As an avid reader of Young Adult Fantasy novels, I was intrigued by the buzz surrounding Ciannon Smart’s debut novel, Witches Steeped in Gold. I was impressed by the book’s quality, and it quickly became one of my favourite reads of the year.
Introduction to Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
Witches Steeped in Gold is a Jamaican-inspired YA Fantasy novel that tells the story of two young witches, Iraya and Jazmyne, who belong to opposing factions of the island’s ruling class. Iraya is a member of the Witch Council, an order of elite witches who use their powers to maintain the status quo. Jazmyne is a member of the Maroon Resistance, a group of rebels who seek to overthrow the Witch Council and establish a new order.
Smart’s world-building is superb, and the Jamaican setting adds a unique flavour to the story. The island’s culture, language, and folklore are seamlessly woven into the narrative, providing a rich and immersive reading experience. The plot is fast-paced, and the tension between the two main characters builds up gradually, culminating in a thrilling climax.
Plot Summary of Witches Steeped in Gold
The story begins with Iraya, who is tasked with capturing and executing Jazmyne’s mother, a powerful Maroon witch. However, during the mission, Jazmyne intervenes and saves her mother, leading to a deadly showdown between the two witches. As the story progresses, we learn more about the history of the island and the complex power dynamics between the Witch Council and the Maroon resistance.
Iraya and Jazmyne form an uneasy alliance, and together they embark on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth behind the Witch Council’s reign. Along the way, they encounter various obstacles, including treacherous witches, dangerous creatures, and a powerful curse. The story’s climax is a thrilling battle between the Witch Council and the Maroon resistance, which will determine the fate of the island and its people.
Characters in Witches Steeped in Gold
The characters in Witches Steeped in Gold are well-developed and have distinct personalities. Iraya and Jazmyne are complex protagonists driven by their own agendas, and their relationship evolves throughout the story. The supporting characters, such as Jazmyne’s mother and Iraya’s mentor, are also well-written and add depth to the story.
One of the strengths of the book is the portrayal of female characters. Smart’s female characters are strong, independent, and empowered, challenging the traditional gender roles often found in YA Fantasy novels. Additionally, the book’s diverse cast of characters reflects the rich cultural heritage of Jamaica, providing a refreshing change from the predominantly white characters of many YA Fantasy novels.
Writing style and themes in Witches Steeped in Gold
Smart’s writing style is lyrical and poetic, and her use of Jamaican Creole adds authenticity to the story. The book’s themes of power, oppression, and resistance are timely and resonate with current social issues. The story also explores the complexities of morality and the consequences of one’s actions, making it a thought-provoking read.
The magic system in Witches Steeped in Gold
The magic system in Witches Steeped in Gold is unique and well-crafted. Witches in the book draw their power from the elements, and their abilities are influenced by their ancestry and lineage. The book’s magic system is based on Jamaican folklore and mythology, adding to the book’s cultural richness.
Ciannon Smart’s inspiration for Witches Steeped in Gold
In an interview, Smart stated that she was inspired by her Jamaican heritage and her love for YA Fantasy novels. She wanted to write a book that reflected her cultural identity and provided representation for marginalised groups. The book’s themes of resistance and empowerment were also influenced by Smart’s experiences as a black woman.
Comparisons with other YA fantasy novels
Witches Steeped in Gold shares similarities with other YA Fantasy novels, such as Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Like these books, Witches Steeped in Gold features strong female protagonists and explores themes of power and resistance. However, the book’s Jamaican-inspired setting and unique magic system make it stand out from other YA Fantasy novels.
Witches Steeped in Gold is a well-written and engaging YA Fantasy novel that provides representation for marginalised groups. The book’s Jamaican-inspired setting and unique magic system add to its cultural richness, and its themes of power and resistance are timely and thought-provoking.
The strengths of Witches Steeped in Gold are its well-developed characters, immersive world-building, and unique magic system. The book’s themes of power, resistance, and empowerment are also timely and thought-provoking. However, some readers may find the book’s pacing slow at times, and the complex political dynamics may be confusing for some readers.
I highly recommend Witches Steeped in Gold to fans of YA Fantasy novels and readers looking for diverse and empowering stories. You can buy it on Amazon now.